Chennai, Events

Felicitation to Prof.M.Anandakrishnan

I had the opportunity to be attending the  felicitation function for Padma Shri Dr.M. Anandakrishnan organized by Tamil Nadu foundation USA today at Hotel Hilton, Chennai.

Padma Shri Prof.M.Anandakrishnan Felicitation at Hotel Hilton

Padma Shri Prof.M.Anandakrishnan felicitation at Hotel Hilton,Chennai

Prof. (as we call him affectionately) accomplishments are long. I had the privilege of walking behind him in few occasions over nearly two decades period, trying my best to observe & learn, through one of his facets as Founder Chairman of INFITT propagating Tamil language in Information Technology. Three occasions I have seen him close from dressing room and part of the team under him are 1999 Tamil.Net 8 bit Tamil encoding, 2010 Chemmozhi conference in Kovai, Tamil Nadu Government G.O. on Unicode standard, apart from few other occasions.

(From left) Valli Anandan, Venkatarangan, Prof., Palaniappa Chellappan, Cadgraf A.Elangovan

(From left) Valli Anandan, T.N.C.Venkatarangan, Prof, Palaniappa Chellappan, Cadgraf A.Elangovan

He is man of few words, but each word he speaks is measured and delivered after deep thought. I have written few conference resolution drafts, committee recommendation drafts, when I share it to him he reads them carefully and completely, then suggests edits of few words, those edits will be insightful and at the same time profoundly altering my own understanding of the underlying work. When I was fresh out of college, being naive I thought that technical standards discussion meant algorithms & source code, but watching Prof. work I learned they are equally about navigating bureaucracy & procedures, managing shrewdly personality landmines and above all having your goal always in sight. Couple of detours in between during your journey should be welcomed, not resisted which can derail the whole train. His ability to spot talent at early stage and bring them are legendary. Thank you Prof.

May almighty shower a long life for you!!!

Events, Microsoft

Microsoft Build 2015

Today the keynote of Microsoft Build 2015 conference was a wild ride, cool, far reaching, innovative – all words you won’t have associated with Microsoft for a long time. I will capture my take in the following ten highlights in honor of upcoming Windows 10.

One of my favourite Microsoftie “Scott Guthrie” on his signature Red Shirt on stage announced for Azure Platform – Elastic Pool to pool SQL Azure databases resources and manage jobs across databases, Docker support in Azure.

Azure Elastic Pool

Azure Elastic Pool

As a developer at heart, my favourite, launch of Visual Studio Code for Mac OS X, Linux & Windows. Microsoft calls it a Code Optimized Editor to highlight the fact it is not a full fledged development environment like Visual Studio suite in Windows, but a tool that can integrate with all the tools (like npm, yo, kestrel) and online services (like Github) that you will use in your development workflow, all from the command line (or terminal).  VSC supports intellisense, tons of languages out of box including node.js, C# and others. Popular blogger, Microsoftie and formerly a fellow Microsoft Regional Director “Scott Hanselman” demoed the product. You can download it for free from shortly.

Microsoft Visual Studio Code running in Mac OS X

Microsoft Visual Studio Code running in Mac OS X

Microsoft Office Graph: Out of all the announcements today this will be of immediate interest for enterprises,  it’s the long awaited Unified API that enables enterprise to make sense and access their data from silos inside individual Microsoft office files and locations. Especially organizations using Microsoft SharePoint in Office 365, this opens a whole door of possibilities by offering a JSON/REST protocol to view and manage data. Apart from Office Graph, there was an announcement of one more add-in model to Office apps that this time will roam and work in any device in which Microsoft Office works which today includes Apple iPad, Android, Windows & Web. There was demo of SAP, & Uber working along with Office apps like PowerPoint & Excel across devices.


Microsoft Office Graph

Next was turn of Windows chief “Terry Myerson” to talk on Windows 10. Talked of carrier payments in many countries for paying in Windows Store, Windows Store for Business who made the big claim of reaching 1 Billion Windows 10 devices in next 2 to 3 years, twice the count of Google Android devices for any single version in the same time frame.

Now you can write Windows 10 apps from existing code from four sources:

1) Web – HTML5 and Javascript. This will light up Windows Platform & Store features when launched inside a Windows Universal App

2) .NET & Windows 32 – These will be available from Windows Store and Win32 Apps like Adobe Photoshop will run isolated in the device using Microsoft AppV technology, most welcome feature!

wait for the last 2 …

3) Android Java & C++ code – These need to be modified / extended a little to take advantage of Windows Platform features, but will run pretty much same in Windows in an Android subsystem

4) Apple iOS Objective C code – Microsoft is going to ship a code convertor that converts existing XCODE projects to a Visual Studio project that runs and takes advantage of Windows Store

Windows 10 - 1 Billion devices - 4 ways to develop apps

Windows 10 – 1 Billion devices – 4 ways to develop apps

Now I understand why Microsoft partnered and didn’t buy Xamarin developer suite.

“Joe Belfiore” demoed new capabilities in latest build of Windows 10, especially how they are promoting Windows Store Apps in many places across the OS to entice developers. Store Apps will be showcased in Start Menu, Lock Screen through Windows Spotlight (why the name deficit for Microsoft to borrow the name from Apple Mac?), Web Browser & Cortana – I lost count beyond that. I liked the improvements to UI, but I am not sure how having Start Menu and Cortana both doing similar tasks will pan out.

Project Spartan, the upcoming new browser from Microsoft has a name now, its Microsoft Edge. Not the most fanciest name but better than not having Microsoft Universal App for Web browsing with Cortana :-). I like what I saw in this browser, especially the note taking, sharing and commenting capabilities.  Microsoft Edge supports running Google Chrome Extensions with very little modifications said JoeB. He continued on demonstrating the Continuum feature, I was impressed with the ability of a Windows Phone connected to a big screen, keyboard and mouse behaving pretty much like a Windows PC. I want that.

Microsoft Edge Browser

Microsoft Edge Browser

Last demo section was the most revolutionary technology from Microsoft for ages – Microsoft Hololens. It was awesome and I can’t wait to get my hands on one, this is the one thing for which I felt I should have been in person in San Francisco this week. I may not want to invest on a 100 inches screen when I can get the same experience with a Hololens for my planned Home theatre. I liked the way Microsoft was able to show us the Hololens experience to us. Developers have a huge advantage of having their same Windows Store Universal apps to be running in Hololens, there is no new App model – a new Microsoft I am seeing here with the entire company rallying behind one single App development model.

Microsoft Hololens showing Human Heart

Microsoft Hololens showing Human Heart

Last demo of having Hololens interact and control an onstage IOT powered Robot was cool.

At the end of the Microsoft Build Keynote, I am quite excited. I feel Google & Apple should move over. The new kid in block Microsoft Hololens has a good chance in making you look as the boring legacy platform.



Chennai, Events

Come Make a Pitch – TiE Chennai

In recent years TiE Chennai, the chapter of global non-profit community of entrepreneurs has been organizing many Pitch festivals as a platform for budding entrepreneurs to present their ideas to investment community. As one of the charter members in TiE Chennai I was invited to be one of the juries in today’s event called “Come Make A Pitch” (CMAP), these are conducted throughout the year in a way of preparing for the big event during TiE Con.

In today’s event held in Hotel Clarion (erstwhile Hotel President) there were 7 start-ups who presented their ventures.

  1.  Infonix Weblabs by Mr.Justin Sylas who presented on a Hospitality business ecosystem, where property owners owners can directly control prices
  2. Portal for capsule stay/day booking of hotels by Mr.Balan Karunakaran of Kryalisco, a survey they did showed demands for for day stay where by Buffer inventory can be released by hotels
  3. Medcoos by Siva R on an idea to provide a SaaS based platform for Healthcare Providers (like Doctors, Hospitals, Pharmacies and Diagnostic centres) to market their products/services
  4. by Rajesh Kumar who talked of his venture, which is to provide a permanent virtual address of a property, video showing 360 degree, improving the experience in rental supply & demand sides
  5. by Jagan Krishnamurthi of Lumino Technologies, whose portal is to provide everything from event signage to interactive experiences for attendees to the utilization of social media at events, bookings and more
  6. FEGO by Saravana is an Employee Performance Management software. FEGO is targeted towards 500 – 1000 employee companies
  7. by Sabin Rodriguez is a portal to help  in finding a venue for an event to making a booking at the hotel. They are in operations in Chennai currently and generating good revenues. Their solution is based on Microsoft .NET Platform (which made me happy to hear!)

I would have preferred to see some “different” ideas, but I then remembered that any idea is only one of the ingredients for a business, what matters most are execution & marketing. If any of the above promoters manage to bring in operation excellence and cool branding they can become successful.

I enjoyed hearing the presentations, All the best to the seven presenters who were on stage today. Thanks TiE Chennai.

Chennai, Events, Technology

Conference on Recent Trends in Computing

Two weeks back I got an invite from Mrs.J.Vijayalakshmi, Head of Department, MCA of Sri Sairam Engineering College, inviting me to do an Inaugural address in their annual National Conference on “Recent Trends in Computing & Communications“. The event conducted in association with Computer Society of India (Region 7) was to be on April 10th 2015, Friday in their campus in West Tambaram near Kishkinta theme park. Since I have never been to that area and addressing students is something that energizes me I immediately agreed to do the talk. Last Friday (April 10th) when I visited their campus after a hour long ride from my office, I was greeted with a vast campus, hundreds of acres nicely maintained out of nowhere.

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Chennai, Events

NASSCOM Product conclave 2015

Today I attended the first half of NASSCOM Product Conclave 2015 event in Chennai. In recent times I am happy to see more events being organized to promote entrepreneurship and give boost to product start-ups in India.

Ravi Gururaj

Ravi Gururaj

Ravi Gururaj, Chairman, Frictionless Ventures

He talked on “Why it is a Good Time to be a Product Entrepreneur”:

  • Few Indian companies focus on building backend services, there is lot of opportunity in this space
  • Setup headless company where you don’t need to have any user interface, the offering has to be powerful APIs
  • Quoted an example of how Chinese are able to plan better than in India. When Engineers needed to build a bridge over a high speed train track, they were able to swivel into place a 17,000-ton structure in Wuhan City.What was remarkable was how they got the roads leading into the swivel portion ready including street lights and lane lines.
  • How an ISP in Japan called Iij had pioneered to build data centre using reusable containers

Alok Goyal

Alok Goyal, Partner, Helion Advisors

He presented compelling points on why Indian startup should now focus on Enterprise Products?. Have We Arrived?:

  • There has never been more disruptions in the Enterprise Products space than now.
  • Ideas are now crowd sourced from CIOs
  • Sites like Tracxn provide valuable Data and reports for Venture Capital
  • While there are plenty of growth happening in supplier side for Enterprise software, Buyer side is not growing or willing to change in India. The reason is not that the market in India is small or capital investments are insignificant, but no CIO in India want to risk by being an early adopters
  • If above is the case, then where is the fundamental advantage for Indian product startups?. It is with the large crop of  global SMBs (Small Medium Business)
  • What’s changed in enterprise product space in India in the last few years has been the availability of mentors who have worked in Silicon Valley and able to share their learning
Girish Mathrubootham

Girish Mathrubootham

Girish Mathrubootham, Founder & CEO, Freshdesk

I have been Freshdesk for few years now, impressed with how good their product is and how Girish got early excitement generated with a simple comment in an online forum. He talked of his journey and challenges faced:

  • Ravi Gururaj asked him “There are thousands of products in helpdesk / support space, it’s a crowded markets. Sitting in Chennai you reach to customers, how did you do it”. Girish answered “A crowded market means there is demand and it’s  a mature model. All the market leaders generally go upmarket, they will leave low billing customers. When all the companies leave the low markets you own them. You are category killer in low end market. Execution matters. The last major category in enterprise software is marketing automation. This means you understand the market and what to build is known very well. It’s easier to build enterprise software”
  • Minimum viable product doesn’t work anymore. It will mean customer has to buy twenty products and integrate. When you are building a product for enterprise, you should see how the product matches to the job title and job description of the person you are selling to. You can’t be selling to CEO all the time. Selling to CEO is the most difficult sell, even if your product is broad based
  • In SaaS market the advantage of Oracle and SAP are going away, which is there is an integrated product. With start-up products in SaaS now they all do one function very well but they come OOB ready to be integrated with others
  • I got $25000 from two friends, then Microsoft competition winning got us $40000. Don’t chase VCs. Where ever you are, they will come and get you
  • In India  when we build products we don’t focus on UI or UX, we focus on engineering. In India you can’t find talent for that. Typography for example is least appreciated here. Anand Daniel of Accel noticed us through .hacker news and contacted us for initial funding. Later even though we were not looking or needed, we got $5 million from Tiger, then $31million from next round.
  • For people to work with you. CEO has to have a good network. You need to build honest relationships. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t underestimate freshers. Don’t go for people who think they are doing you a favor by coming here. Take people who want to work for you
  • We wanted to go to Bangalore. But the world conspired against it. My son didn’t a seat  in a school in the last minute and I took it as a sign to stay in Chennai
  • The New game in town now is how fast you can drive money from your VCs to your customers?. We are not in that game
  • We setup an office in SFO to be near to our customers, meet them for closing larger deal. We don’t try to go to India customers. Indian customers want to buy from global brands and not (see value or buy) from Indian startups
  • The work we do has to be happy for everyone. We are not top pay masters, compared to other VC funded rich start-ups. I feel people need to be Happy to “work”. Talk to them about how you can grow here and monetize later in your career. The question in your initial years do you want to get a Rs.5 Lakh from Rs.3 Lakhs or in few get a jump from Rs.35L to Rs.70 Lakhs?

Bhaskar Thakur, Entrepreneur, Growth Hacker

He talked about:

  • Paul Graham’s product growth chart.
  • Growth Hacking is seen by some as the new VP of marketing
  • True north in a startup has to be growth
  • Mantra is Attract, Activate, Retain, Reap